Ruby Hirose

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Ruby Hirose
Ruby Hirose.jpg
Ruby Hirose at William S. Merrell Laboratories
Born 1904-08-30
Died 1960-10-07 Age 56
West Reading, PA, USA
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Washington
Occupation pharmacology

Ruby Sakae Hirose (1904 – 1960[1][2]) was an American biochemist and bacteriologist. She did research on blood clotting and Thrombin, allergies, and researched cancer using antimetabolites.


Ruby Hirose was born to Shiusaka (Father) Hirose and Tome (nee Kurai) in Kent, Washington on August 30, 1904. She grew up in the White River (Shirakawa) area around Seattle, WA. In addition to American school, she attended the Thomas Japanese Language School. She was the first Nisei (2nd generation) Japanese American to graduate from Auburn High School in Auburn, WA in 1922. Hirose earned her bachelor's degree in 1926 (in pharmacy [3]) and her master's degree in pharmacology from the University of Washington in 1928.[4] She then moved to the University of Cincinnati where she completed her doctorate in 1932. She worked at the University of Cincinnati[5] until being hired by the research division of the William S. Merrell Company where she researched serums and antitoxins.[6]

In 1940, the American Chemical Society held its meeting in Cincinnati during April 8–12. A report to the meeting indicated that there was increasing opportunity for women in the industry. It noted that in the Cincinnati section of the American Chemical Society, out of 300 members, there were ten women members. Dr. Ruby Hirose was highlighted by name as one of the ten women.[7]

During World War II, Ruby was connected with the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology, University of Cincinnati. She also taught microbiology and did research on cancer at the University of Indiana. In 1958, she joined the Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Veterans Administration Hospital as a bacteriologist. Prior to this, she was affiliated with the Ft. Benjamin Harrison Hospital in Indianapolis and the VA Hospital in Dayton, OH.[8]

Meanwhile, in 1942 her family was sent to internment camps, a fate she escaped because she was living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She died of acute myeloid leukemia in West Reading, Pennsylvania on October 7, 1960,[9] and her surviving family buried her at the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery in Auburn, Washington.[10]


  1. ^ Ruby S. Hirose | Billion Graves Record
  2. ^ Hirose, Shiusaku & Tome Kurei biography; plus Kimeo, Ruby and others
  3. ^ "Interview with Ruby Hirose, 1924, Stanford Survey on Race Relations 1924-1927, Box 27, Item 159" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Yoo, David (2000). Growing Up Nisei: Race, Generation, and Culture Among Japanese Americans of California, 1924-49. University of Illinois Press. pp. 61–. ISBN 9780252068225. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Hirose, Ruby (1933). "The Second Phase of the Thrombin Action" (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Ruby Hirose". Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  7. ^ The Cincinnati Enquirer (newspaper), "Increasing Need Seen for Women Chemists", March 18, 1940, page 11
  8. ^ The Cincinnati Enquirer, "Joins Staff", October 13, 1958
  9. ^ Ruby Hirose, Certificate of Death, File #091494-60, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health
  10. ^ Lommen, Kristy (2013). "An American-born Japanese Girl Scientist". The Auburn Pioneer Cemetery Blog. The Auburn Pioneer Cemetery. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 

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